Books and lists – what more could you want?

You might have noticed I like books. I keep my Goodreads lists up to date, and set myself targets every year. I also know Jennifer Gilmour, the author of The Book Review Log Book, has targets on Goodreads | you can see them here, although I suspect she’s using her log book now so it may not be up-to-date!

But the Goodreads system only lets you set a target number of books – I go for one a week because it requires no thought! Which is fine, but with the emphasis purely on quantity, it misses that for a reluctant reader, three books could be a huge achievement. That’s why I published The Book Dragon Club packed with fun reading activities and challenges for kids.

So, back to The Book Review Log Book. Now, full disclosure, I’m working on a grown-up version of my Book Dragon Club, so I was a bit worried I might be conflicted if I reviewed this book, but I’m really glad I did as I love it, and mine will be different so no conflict.

It starts with goal setting – yay! And it’s free form so you can tailor it to exactly what you want to achieve – another bug bear of mine regarding the Goodreads system.

The “To be Read” section suggests drawing spines on shelves, which I love as an idea instead of a list. There are 6 shelves, so you could even organise them by genre, or any other way.

And the inclusion of a “Book release calendar” is genius – unless I add a book to my Amazon pre-orders, I often lose them.

There is then plenty of space for 100 book reviews, and progress checks to celebrate as you go. Fun!


Keep a track of your reading progress and your book reviews in one place:

  • Reading Goals
  • To Be Read List
  • Book Release Dates
  • Word Cloud
  • Your Reviews
  • Your Notes

Author bio

Jennifer Gilmour is an author and advocate for women in abusive relationships, using her own experiences of domestic abuse as a catalyst to bring awareness and to help others. Jennifer has published two publications, Isolation Junction and Clipped Wings which have both been Amazon Best Sellers and received awards. Jennifer speaks at events across the UK and continues to raise awareness through her blog posts, public speaking, radio interviews and social media. 

Most Informative Blogger Award 2018 (Bloggers Bash Annual Awards)
UK & European Award for using Social Media for Good 2019 (Social Day: Social Media Marketing Awards) 

Jennifer says: “Together we are Louder”.

Maths for babies – a book I wish I’d written

A little known fact is I’m actually an accountant – I’m a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales. So it’s not surprising that I thought Numberjacks was a great idea for a kids TV show, and I’m always curious about new maths focused books. What is surprising, is that I didn’t write 100 ways, 100 days to teach your baby maths myself! What a superb resource.


Let your baby lead the way as you explore the wonderful world of maths together through 100 daily activities, stories, and songs. No flashcards, no worksheets, no right or wrong, and no maths anxiety Within this 100-day maths journey, you will discover:

  • Maths ability on entry to school is a strong predictor of later achievement, double that of literacy skills.
  • Babies seem to be born with an amazing number sense.
  • Parents have the power to show their babies that maths is enjoyable and not something to be anxious about.
  • Babies can enjoy maths activities while boosting other areas of development.
  • The best time to start enjoying maths is in infancy.

What about the effect of gender, culture, sleep, diet—even the type of pushchair you buy? 100 Ways in 100 Days to Teach Your Baby Maths holds the answers.

“…use this book. It really will be worth it.”- Tony Attwood, founder, The Dyscalculia Centre“I loved reading this book. The approach is imaginative but also tied to everyday life, making the holistic integration of a maths-friendly parenting style something natural rather than forced.”-“The simple and well-researched activities and advice ensure that everyone can give their children the best start in life.”- National Numeracy

About the Author

Emma Smith is a Fellow of The Institute of Actuaries and a Chartered Accountant. She is a double academic prize winner with a First Class Maths degree and a lifelong lover of maths. She has worked freelance as an actuarial exam counsellor, an assistant examiner, and a writer. Her front-cover articles include “Your Baby is a Genius!” in Baby London Magazine. While writing, Emma is ably assisted by her dog, Button, her daughter’s cat, Princess Marshmallow, and her son’s cat, Squeezy Paws.

Racoon and the Hot Air Balloon

Jill Atkins is in my writing group so I was thrilled to be invited by her publisher to take part in the blog tour for her new book, Racoon and the Hot Air Balloon. Unfortunately a hiking holiday in the hills meant I missed the actual tour, but I was lucky enough to be sent a copy to review anyway.

I absolutely loved the Racoon character – everything you could want in a role model – kind, compassionate, brave, and adventurous. And always getting into mischief – something that should appeal to young readers!

And the Eagle mum character is also very strongly written. She allows Raccoon to explore, but there in the background to prevent disaster. What a lovely way to include the “grown-up” in the story. I remember hearing Katherine Rundell say in a speech “there is nothing so endangered in children’s literature as a mother” and it’s true – as writers we’re encouraged to write them out so the children can solve their problems, but I like them to be there in the background.

And as if that wasn’t enough, there is the underlying message of good deeds repaying themselves.


Raccoon is in search of adventure! A hot air balloon looks like the perfect way for her to experience flying…but how do you get down?

Author Bio

Jill Atkins is a self-proclaimed ‘escaped teacher’ who is now writing for children with 46 books published so far, ranging from early reading material to teenage novels. She is married with two grown-up children and five grandchildren, and loves to read both adult and children’s books.

Not a bus book!

On the day that Meghan Markle’s “The bench” is all over the media for being a pure vanity project, entirely devoid of plot, and barely in English (seriously, Puffin should be embarrassed to have published it), I’m thrilled to have a beautifully written picture book for you.

I’ve reviewed several of Sue Wickstead’s bus-themed books over the past few years. They’re all beautiful gentle stories, with a simple, appropriate message, and with lovely traditional illustrations. So when I saw she’s branched out and published a non-bus themed book, I was intrigued.

Firstly, I was pleased to see that Barty Barton, the bear who was loved too much has the same illustrator (I wish they were credited on the cover). The picture of Barty reminds me so much of my own tatty teddy, who is definitely “loved too much” but still sits on my shelf (with his best friends).

It’s a heartwarming plot line that brought a lump to my throat. Perfect for reassuring any youngster before their favourite toy goes for its annual bath!

And in case you were missing the buses, I spotted one sneak into the illustrations.


Giveaway to Win a  Lego bear and some teddy bear colouring sheets (UK) plus a few more goodies.

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Author bio

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and an author and writes children’s picture books with a bus theme. She has also written a photographic history book about the real bus, which is where her story writing began.

Sue once worked with a playbus charity based in Crawley. This led her to write the photographic history book about the project. The ‘Bewbush Playbus’ book was published in 2012.

Sue then began to write a fictional tale about the bus. ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name and has now been followed by more picture books (ten to date) which all indeed have a bus connection as well as links to her teaching journey.

Gloria is the most recent bus book and is based on the summer play-schemes which operated during the school holidays providing a safe place to play and to meet other children. (published 2020)

‘Barty Barton; the bear that was loved too much’ was also published in 2020. Barty was written for both her son and grandson.

Some of Sue’s books have been entered and shortlisted in ‘The Wishing Shelf Book Awards’, her book ‘A Spooky Tale’ was a silver medal winner in 2019. It is a story written with her class in school and is aimed at the younger reader.

Have you got your ‘lucky pants’ on?

I’m not a football fan – in fact I have been to only 1 match in my life (if you’re curious, it was Partick Thistle in Scotland with a ex-boyfriend, and I can’t even remember who they were playing!) – however I do love sporty books. I’m currently working my way through my collection of vintage pony books.

Anyway, since featuring a fantastic non-fiction book about Lily Parr called Trailblazer, and a fiction book about women’s Camogie and Gaelic football, Izzy’s Magical Football adventure I have been on the look out for a new football book for a while, so when I spotted ‘Danny Mann, super fan‘ I was keen to have a look.

book tour banner
Tour banner

It’s a straightforward read – perfect for the chapter book reader/ reluctant reader, and absolutely chock full of football. Whilst simple in concept, I love how it addresses our little pre-match rituals. For example, I fully admit to having a pair of lucky riding socks which I HAVE to wear when I go to a dressage competition. Of course, I’m perfectly aware they are just socks, but I can’t help it!

Lucky socks?
Lucky socks?

I digress. Back to the book …


Danny Mann, super fan book cover
Danny Mann book cover

Danny loves Chadmouth Town Football Club more than anything, but a run of defeats and terrible luck has left them bottom of the table and looking certain to be relegated with time running out.

But then, Danny and his best friend Nelson stumble across a bizarre pre-match ritual that seems to turn their luck around, and his beloved team starts winning again. Is it too little too late though, and can he keep doing everything right before each match, even when he starts finding more and more obstacles in his way and despite the relentless teasing from his classmates? It’s going to come down to the wire.

Does Danny have what it takes to save Chadmouth’s season?

Author bio

Ian Slater author
Ian Slatter author

Ian published his debut novel, Eco Worrier, in 2020 – a middle grade adventure story with plenty of twists and turns and lots of laughs.

He has also written two non-fiction books for adults – Premier League Legends – the top 10 greatest Premier League players of all time and Incredible Moments in Sport.

Ian wrote for satirical website for ten years, as well as writing for comedy sketch shows on ITV and BBC Radio.